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The VM40 is a Second World War civil defense gas mask available for civilians in Nazi Germany.

Mask overview[]

The VM40's face piece was made from Buna-S (styrene-butadiene rubber, a synthetic rubber still used and produced to this day) and was colored either dark green or black, with the production stamps located on the lower left and right side of the face piece where the chin would rest when worn. The eye lenses of the VM40 tend to discolour overtime becoming more yellow or red, like other gas masks with cellulose eye pieces from the same period. The mask came with replaceable anti-fog lens inserts that were fixed into the eye pieces with a simple snap ring. The inserts feature a print indicating the manufacturer (Auer), a number (likely the production year) and the word 'Innenseite' (inside) to show which way to insert them.

Due to the rubber crisis that Germany faced during the war, helmet-style masks like the VM37 became too costly to produce. To counteract this, the VM40 uses a simple strap and shaped chin rest to provide a tight seal to the user, making it a full-face protective mask. It has a very unique type of harness, it uses three straps attached with two metal tightening brackets to the rubber or cloth straps attached to the mask itself. Earlier units of the mask were manufactured with a rubber harness, while later ones featured a cloth harness to further reduce the manufacturing cost.

Like all VMs, it uses a simple metal 40mm intake piece with a green rubbered inhale valve and a foam-like ring that helped drying the intake piece from sweat and condensation. The exhale valve is a simple flapper valve, similar to the ones of various other civilian gas masks of the era. The base of the valve is reinforced with steel to make it sturdier, and to aid with putting it on or taking it off.

The mask was produced in four sizes: K (Kinder - Children), F (Frauen - Women), M (Männer - Men) and M-Ue (Männer-Übergrösse - Men-Oversize), with the M-Ue size (presumably) only being produced when specifically ordered, as this was the case with the VM37. The size is written both on the bottom of the intake piece of the mask and on the middle piece of the box that holds the mask in place.


The VM40 was issued with the standard 40mm filters, which are broad discs made from aluminum with multiple holes at the bottom and a thread at the top that contain the various blocking substances.

They were colloquially called 'shower heads', as their bottom side looks strangely like an old-fashioned shower head of that time period.

Also the filter contains activated charcoal and very dangerous blue asbestos although is completely fine if on display and in good condition you should never were it or breath it in.


The mask came with its filter and instructional booklet inside a cardboard box.